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Bale-grazing workshops introduce new concept

Plan to attend one of two unique workshops for livestock producers.

Tom J. Bechman, Midwest Crops Editor

October 2, 2023

1 Min Read
Round hay bales scattered across pasture
READY TO FEED: Bales are in position for winter grazing in this forage field. John Elk III/Getty Images

Why bring big round bales to a feedlot and put them in bale feeders when you can let livestock go to them instead? And going to them just might mean positioning bales at key locations within a pasture so cattle and other livestock can stay on pasture for a good portion of the year.

Keith Johnson, Purdue Extension forage specialist, says this innovative concept is known among producers who use it as “bale grazing.”

“It is a winter-feeding method where bales are strategically set out on pasture in the fall when weather conditions are good,” he says. “Then, they’re fed to livestock in the winter in rotation in the pasture using temporary electric fencing.”

To introduce more producers to the concept, two workshops are being offered in Indiana:

  • Oct. 5 at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds, Madison, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. local time

  • Oct. 6 at the Southern Indiana Purdue Agriculture Center, Dubois, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. local time

These twin workshops are sponsored by Purdue Extension, Partners IN Food and Farming, University of Kentucky Extension and the Natural Resources Conservation Service. The Indiana Forage Council, Urban Soil Health, Conservation Cropping Systems Initiative and Grazing Systems Supply are supporting the effort.

You will be able to participate in a pasture walk at either location and see how producers who graze livestock position the system for best results. Lunch will be provided. Greg Halich, forage systems economist at the University of Kentucky, will lead the workshop, focusing on how to make the system profitable.

To learn more or to reserve a spot, visit or email [email protected].

Read more about:

Grazing SystemsGrazing

About the Author(s)

Tom J. Bechman

Midwest Crops Editor, Farm Progress

Tom J. Bechman became the Midwest Crops editor at Farm Progress in 2024 after serving as editor of Indiana Prairie Farmer for 23 years. He joined Farm Progress in 1981 as a field editor, first writing stories to help farmers adjust to a difficult harvest after a tough weather year. His goal today is the same — writing stories that help farmers adjust to a changing environment in a profitable manner.

Bechman knows about Indiana agriculture because he grew up on a small dairy farm and worked with young farmers as a vocational agriculture teacher and FFA advisor before joining Farm Progress. He works closely with Purdue University specialists, Indiana Farm Bureau and commodity groups to cover cutting-edge issues affecting farmers. He specializes in writing crop stories with a focus on obtaining the highest and most economical yields possible.

Tom and his wife, Carla, have four children: Allison, Ashley, Daniel and Kayla, plus eight grandchildren. They raise produce for the food pantry and house 4-H animals for the grandkids on their small acreage near Franklin, Ind.

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